Horse Speak: An Equine-Human Translation Guide: Conversations with Horses in Their Language

Horse Speak: An Equine-Human Translation Guide: Conversations with Horses in Their Language

by Sharon Wilsie, Gretchen Vogel


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


Horse Speak is not a training method or technique—it is a practical system for “listening” and “talking” to horses in their language, instead of expecting them to comprehend ours. Horse Speak can be used by anyone who works with horses, whether riding instructor, colt starter, recreational rider, or avid competitor. It promises improved understanding of what a horse is telling you, and provides simple replies you can use to tell him that you “hear” him, you “get it,” and you have ideas you want to share with him, too.

The result? Time with your horse will be full of what horse trainer and equine-assisted learning instructor Sharon Wilsie of Wilsie Way Horsemanship calls Conversations, and soon the all-too-common misunderstandings that occur between horse and human will evolve into civil discussions with positive and progressive results! Learn Horse Speak in 12 easy steps; understand equine communication via breath and body language; and discover the Four Gs of Horse Speak: Greeting, Going Somewhere, Grooming, and Gone. Practice regulating your intensity, and sample dozens of ready-made Conversations with your horse, as step-by-step templates and instructional color photographs walk you through the eye-opening process of communicating on a whole new level.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781570767548
Publisher: Trafalgar Square
Publication date: 11/29/2016
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 131,758
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Sharon Wilsie has enjoyed a professional career as a horse trainer/rehabilitation specialist, intercollegiate coach, and riding instructor. She has also been a Reiki Master/Teacher since 1992. Wilsie has developed and implemented a number of programs over the last decade, including volunteer training groups for horse rescues and therapeutic riding centers, Equine Assisted Learning courses, and hundreds of workshops and seminars relating to Equine Facilitated Therapies, alternative training methodologies, and rehabilitation methods for difficult horses and horses with PTSD. Wilsie has worked with students from all ages, including at-risk youth programs. Her passion for helping both people and horses understand themselves and each other better led her to develop the system called “Horse Speak” and the bestselling book of the same name (

Gretchen Vogel is a lifelong horse owner and rider, as well as an avid gardening expert. She is the author of two previous books: Solar Gardening and Choices in the Afterlife. She lives in Keene, New Hampshire.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Everything Means Something 1

What Is Leadership, Really? 3

The Ideal Connection 3

True Dialogue 4

Species Relationships 4

12 Easy Steps 5

Step 1 Building Your Foundation 7

Finding Your "Inner Zero" 7

Managing "Outer Zero" and Adjusting Volume 9

Observation 12

Mapping the Language 15

Signs of Emotion 16

Mirroring 18

The Art of Conversation 19

A Sense of Humor 21

Ask Good Questions 22

Pausing 23

No Wrong Answers 24

Breath Messages 24

Greeting Breath 25

Beckoning Breath 25

Interested Breath 25

Nurturing Breath 25

Relaxing Breath 26

Yawns, Big Sigh, and Shuddering Breath 26

Sentry Breath 27

Trumpeting 27

Deliberate Breathing 28

The Bubble of Personal Space: Circles and Arcs 28

Contact versus Space 30

Approach and Retreat 32

Go Away and Come Back 33

The 13 Horse Speak Buttons 36

Step 2 Observing Facial Expressions 41

Head Height 42

Muzzle 42

Lick and Chew 42

Biting 43

Tight Lips 43

Curling the Lip 44

Chin 44

Nostrils 44

Jaw 45

Eyes 45

Blinking 47

Ears 47

Learning to Read 50

Step 3 The Four Gs of Horse Speak and the Greeting Ritual 51

Greeting 52

First Touch: Formal Greeting, "Hello," and Copycat 52

Second Touch: Getting to Know You and Copycat 53

Third Touch: What's Next? 53

Conversation: Greeting Ritual 53

Rocking Together 55

Conversation: Rock the Baby 56

Step 4 Going Somewhere 57

Going Somewhere Part One 57

Go Away Face Button and Play Button 57

Scanning the Horizon and Sentry 59

Conversation: Scanning the Horizon and Sentry 61

Going Somewhere Part Two 62

The Forehand 62

Conversation: Please Don't Pick Up/Do Pick Up Your Feet 64

Conversation: Move Your Feet Over 65

Beckoning and "O" Posture 66

Conversation: Greet, Send Away, and Beckon Back with "O" Posture 67

Core Energy 68

Conversation: Back Up 69

Conversation: Blocking Forward Movement 70

Joe: The Conversation Begins 71

Step 5 Horse Speak In-Hand 78

Calming Halter Conversations 78

Conversation: Rock the Baby with Halter 79

Conversation: Rope Slide 80

Furthering Our Claims to Space in Front of the Horse 81

Conversation: Therapy Back-Up 81

Going Somewhere Part Three 84

Moving Forward Together 84

Conversation: Matching Steps 85

Target Hand and Understanding the Horse's Circles and Arcs 87

Variations for Fun 88

Conversation: Fun with Feet 88

Conversation: Obstacle Course 90

Step 6 Grooming Ritual: Finding Unity 91

Sharing Space and Revisiting Pausing 91

Conversation: Sharing Space 92

Making Contact 92

Don't Forget Your "Xs" and "Os" 95

Conversation: Managing Your Belly Button 95

Step 7 The Five Levels of Intensity 100

Learning the Levels 100

Outer Zero and "O" Posture 100

Conversation: Practicing Posture 102

Exercise: "Assertive" Practice 105

Fine-Tuning Your "X" and "O" Postures 107

Fine-Tuning Core Energy 108

Conversation: Managing Your Core Energy 108

Conversation: "Are You Ready?" "Yes, I'm Ready." 110

Conversation: The Waltz 113

Phasing Down 115

Fine-Tuning Approach and Retreat 116

Fine-Tuning Go Away and Come Back 118

Conversation: This Hay Is for You 118

Conversation: Go Back, Come Forward 120

Conversation: Beckoning for Bonding 120

Conversation: Horse Hug 121

Step 8 Negotiating Areas of vulnerability and Defensiveness 123

Getting to Know the Horse's Vulnerable Bits 123

The Girth Button 124

Conversation: Breathe Up the Girth 125

The Jump-Up Button 125

Making Friends with the Defensive End 125

Conversation: "Making Friends" Behind 126

Punctuation 127

Gone 129

Conversation: Tail Swish 131

Hindquarter Sending Messages 131

The Hip-Drive Button 131

Conversation: Send 133

Conversation: Turning the Canoe 133

The Yield-Over Button 134

Conversation: Step Over and Rebalance 134

Joe: In Hand 135

Step 9 Moving with Grace 141

Becoming More Horizontal 141

Conversation: Dancer's Arms 142

Pivoting Energy 144

Conversation: Pivoting with Dancer's Arms 145

Lateral Movement 146

Conversation: Lateral Yield 146

Step 10 Who's Driving Anyway? 147

Conversations on the Longe Line 148

Understanding Your Whip or Crop 148

Conversation: Greeting Your Horse with the Whip 150

Conversation: Practice with the Whip 151

Conversation: Forward on the Longe 152

Conversation: Trace My Bubble 153

Conversation: Drop It to Stop It 155

Conversation: Completing the Circle 156

Conversation: Changing Direction 156

Adding Obstacles 157

Stepping Up the Pace 157

Conversation: Trotting on the Longe Circle 157

The New Longeing You 159

Step 11 Let Them Be Free 160

Horse Speak at Liberty 160

Observe and Mirror 161

Conversation: Over the Fence 161

A Delicate Balance 166

Conversation: Liberty Trotwork 166

Releasing Old News 167

Conversations on the Inside 168

Conversation Beckoning and Sending from the Inside 169

Predictable Directions 170

Conversation: Parallel Tracks 171

Target Practice 171

Conversation: Moving on Target 172

Picking Up Speed 174

Conversation: Trotting on the Inside 174

Conversation: Go Ahead, Canter! 176

An Open Forum 178

Joe: At Liberty 179

Step 12 Now You're Up There… What Should You Do? 186

Mounted Conversations 186

Around the Mounting Block 186

Conversation: Mounting with Breath 187

Letting Go 190

Conversation: Gumby Pose 190

Conversation: "Hello" Rein 192

Conversation: Copycat Reins 193

Conversation: Up-and-Over Rein 195

Building Body Awareness 196

Exercise: Palms Down vs. Fingernails Up 197

Conversation: Fingernails-Up Rein 197

Claiming Space in Front 199

Conversation: Mounted Therapy Back-Up 199

Joe: Under Saddle 201

The White Mare: A Poem 207

Acknowledgments 208

Index 210

Customer Reviews